F1 Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix: Live stream, TV channel, start time, rules, and drivers for inaugural Series race

FORMULA ONE race fans are facing months without any action on the tracks with a host of Grands Prix already postponed or cancelled.

The original season opener in Australia was scrapped just hours before first practice, while races in Bahrain, Vietnam, China, Holland, Spain and Monaco have also been put on hold.

F1 turns virtual for the Bahrain Grand Prix as gamers and real-life Formula One drivers battle it out
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That could see Azerbaijan become the first F1 race of the season, if coronavirus has gone away by then.

Yet, to fill the void, F1 have arranged a Virtual Grand Prix Series where actual drivers and those in the Esports world face off – with the Bahrain International Circuit hosting the inaugural race.

When is Bahrain Virtual Grand Prix?

The first Virtual Grand Prix Series race will take place on Sunday, March 22.

It will take place at 8pm UK time – that is 4pm for those in US.

The drivers will be racing around the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir.

For the actual players, they will either be coming to you from Gfinity’s Esports Arena in London or remotely logging on.

What TV channel is it on and can I live stream it for FREE?

The race will be streamed live for FREE on a range of platforms including through F1’s official YouTube channel.

They will also broadcast on their Twitch and Facebook pages, while you can also watch the 90-minute show on F1.com.

What are the rules?

The race will take place using the F1 2019 game, with grid positions will be decided by the fastest lap times in qualifying.

Following that will be the race where it will be held at 50% of a normal Grand Prix.

That means there will be 28 laps, instead of the normal 56.

Real life drivers will be used on the game, so Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari will lock horns once again.

And before teams get excited, the race will not count towards the actual World Championship standings.

Who will be racing?

Some real-world racers will be in the driving seat for this one, including F2’s Juan Manuel Correa – who is currently unable to compete in an actual car due to injury from his horrific crash last year.

Pop star Liam Payne will also be behind the wheel.

Nico Hulkenberg, who was dropped by Renault last season, will also be racing, while British Olympic cycling star Chris Hoy will be in the hotseat for Red Bull

But Max Verstappen has pulled out after claiming he did not want to feature in a competition, having not played the game before.

That is despite game settings being configured to each individual depending on their experience.

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